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Course Feature:
The Psychology and Ethics of Psychedelics
with Dustin Stokes and Natalia Washington

Natalia Washington, assistant professor of philosophy, and Dustin Stokes, professor of philosophy, combined their research interests in philosophy of mind and cognitive science, and interests in psychiatry and ethics and aesthetics, respectively, to create a new course, the Psychology of Ethics and Psychedelics (PHIL 5191, 5450, 6191, 6450). An advanced philosophy course, the class will explore topics about the use of psychedelic drugs and therapeutic intervention. Below, professors Washington and Stokes provide more insight into the course and discuss why they chose to create it.

Who is this course for?

Following the recent bloom in research on psychedelics (following the decriminalization of such research), many new questions in philosophy of psychiatry, philosophy of mind, metaphysics and epistemology, ethics and aesthetics arise. In this course, we will consider a range of interesting topics that attach to the use of psychedelic drugs as therapeutic intervention. Are such interventions safe? Are they effective and how? How do they work (neurologically, personally)? How do these therapies change one’s idea of oneself? What kinds of intellectual benefits can result from their use? What methods of research are most responsible? In sum, this course is for any student interested and motivated to take on some cross-section of these questions.

How did the idea for this course come about?

We were asked to write a philosophical paper on the wide range of successful applications for psychedelic drugs used in a therapeutic setting. Since much of this research is new, and new to us, teaching an advanced course seemed like a good way to explore, with our students, some exciting new literature.

What do you hope students will take away from this course?

We hope that students will get some exposure to a range of philosophical areas (like those listed above), get a grasp and appreciation for a new and exciting development in psychiatry and wellness studies and practice reading some tough literature in cognitive science.

Why should students enroll in this course?

Students interested in any of the above topics or interested in human wellness and advancements in psychiatric treatment, will most enjoy it. It will be a fun and exciting academic adventure, we promise!

Dustin Stokes

Dustin Stokes


CTIHB 427 | (801) 581-8631

Faculty Profile  WEBSITE

Natalia Washington

Natalia Washington

Assistant Professor

CTIHB 425 | (801) 581-7302

Faculty Profile  WEBSITE

Last Updated: 11/29/22